Written by the students of Fitch High School and trusted since 1928

The Falcon Press

Written by the students of Fitch High School and trusted since 1928

The Falcon Press

Written by the students of Fitch High School and trusted since 1928

The Falcon Press

Book Review: ‘They Wish They Were Us’


Jessica Goodman, an author of young adult thriller books, was also a former editor of the Cosmopolitan magazine and part of the 2017 team who won a National Magazine award in personal service. As well as the Cosmopolitan magazine she also held a part in editorial positions in Entertainment Weekly and HuffPost, with her work being published in Glamour and Maire Claire. Initially, as a beginning author, she started her writing journey with an autobiography titled Goldoni in Paris about Carlo Goldoni and his venture in Paris. 

  However, it wasn’t until 2020 did Jessica Goodman get recognized for being an author and sparking readers’ attention. Published on August 4th, 2020, by Penguin Teen, They Wish They Were Us marked Jessica Goodman’s debut in writing young adult thrillers. They Wish They Were Us takes place in Gold Coast, Long Island and begins on the first day of senior year for Jill Newman, the protagonist, three years after the disastrous murder of her best friend Shaila Arnold. As she pursues her goal to attend her dream college, an unknown number prompts Jill to reconsider just how responsible Graham Calloway, Shaila’s boyfriend, truly is in Shaila’s murder. 


Plot Overview

  As the reader begins reading, it is explained how attending Gold Coast Prep is for Jill Newman and how challenging it is academically. However, there’s one way for Jill to not only ensure she passes all of her classes but to pass with flying colors. Lucky for her, She accomplished this during her very first year of Gold Coast Prep. She earned her way to become a Player. A Player is a member of an exclusive club with many added perks. The major ones being: popular, hosting the best parties as well as events, and an app only Players have access to for passing with the highest grades. 

  Becoming a Player is no easy task, there were many challenges that really tested how motivated the prep students were to give up everything to join. But Jill accomplished it and was swimming in the perks along with her friends Nikki, Quentin, Robert, Henry, and Marla. Nikki, senior class president and her best friend, her supportive rock for moving on after Shaila’s death. Quentin, artistic and friend, overall her charismatic friend. Robert, rebellious of rules and snarky, and more often than not, her hot-tempered friend. Marla, a rigorous rule follower and athletic hockey player, her pretty reserved and mutual friend. Last but not least her boyfriend Henry, passionate in journalism and captain of the lacrosse team.      

  As the reader dives deeper into the book, the author’s writing style continues to hook the reader, creating an engaging atmosphere blending fast-paced narration and vivid description. Jessica Goodman’s impressive ability to keep the reader engaged propels the story forward with smooth transitions and even smoother flashbacks, giving the reader more details about Jill as well as the complexity of other characters. Overall, Jessica Goodman is skillful at writing complex, humanlike characters and fulfilling tension-filled mysteries. As she builds up the tension and plot of the story, the end result is neatly crafted with a satisfying ending.

Overall Opinion

  They Wish They Were Us was a fun and emerging read with an absolutely satisfying ending with all things piecing together like a puzzle. My absolute favorite part being how the characters were realistic for highschoolers and how each character was both lovable even as their flaws come to light down the line. All in all, it’s a great book to take the time to read and I’m grateful to have chosen it among my pile of must-read-books. And I recommend this book for people who love mysteries, or specifically murder mysteries, with a young girl taking on the role of detective.

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About the Contributor
Michala Holland
Michala Holland, Staff Writer
Michala, a young Sophomore, is excited to get this club up and running. She spends her free time reading, sometimes hours at a time, and writing articles for the Newspaper club’s website. She plans to get the most out of her years in high school and to participate in as much as she can before moving somewhere else for her junior year. She hopes to do her best in writing up and coming news stories.

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